In the past month New York Islanders’ 2018 draftee Noah Dobson became only the sixth QMJHL defenseman under the age of 20 years, six months since 2010 to break 20 points in a playoffs.
Three of the six blueliners were younger than 20 years in April of their respective playoff run. Dobson, the Islanders’ 12th overall pick of the 2018 draft, was nine months younger.
The Prince Edward Island native is also the only one of the six to break 23 points, as he amassed 29 in the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies’ 20 post-season games:
2019: 29 pts in 20 games for Dobson, 19Y3M, 6’3”
2017: 23 pts in 18 games for Chabot, 20Y3M, 6’2”
2016: 22 pts in 21 games for SGirard, 17Y11M, 5’10”
2016: 21 pts in 17 games for Chabot, 19Y3M, 6’2”
2015: 21 pts in 20 games for Kostalek 20Y2M, 6’1”
2014: 22 pts in 16 games for MWeegar, 20Y3M, 5’11”
2011: 22 pts in 21 games for MBarberio, 20Y1M, 6’1”
The only one close to comparable to the smooth-skating Dobson in terms of age and height is Thomas Chabot, who just scored 55 points in 70 games for the Ottawa Senators in his fourth post-draft season while garnering some Norris buzz along the way.
The first half of this past regular season the Isles’ prospect only managed 16 points in 28 games for the struggling Acadie-Bathurst Titan, but as Carey Haber’s Betweenness article in December explained, “Dobson has shown tangible versatility in how he can accumulate points, making it fair to say he is a production driver versus reliant on a specific combination. For a prospective defenseman, this is a very good sign.”
After the trade to the Cup-contending Huskies in December, Dobson tallied 36 points in the remaining 28 regular season games, silencing the critics, before his impressive playoff run.
It is quite the statement for Dobson, who slipped last NHL entry draft partially because some questioned this offensive upside, even after registering 69 points in 67 regular season games his 2017-18 QMJHL regular season.
He may have fell because the QMJHL is still often regarded as the easiest league of the three in the CHL, but Chabot and Samuel Girard (27 points in 82 games for the Colorado Avalanche this past season) are proving that Q accomplishments now shouldn’t be ignored, for defensemen with NHL aspiration.
Surely some of Dobson’s falling can also be attributed to a 2018 draft loaded with a dozen prospects who would often be selected top-8. The Islanders were fortunate to have the 12th selection in the draft, thanks to the Travis Hamonic deal, which also delivered a pair of 2nd round draft picks to the Isles, from Calgary.
For his efforts Dobson was named Most Valuable Player of the 2018-19 QMJHL playoffs, as his Huskies prepare for the Memorial Cup.
A year ago Dobson was named a first-team Memorial Cup All-Star. If he can repeat, the 6’3” prospect will be the first under-20 defenseman this century to do so, from any of the three CHL leagues.
Dobson will look to contend for an NHL roster spot this autumn, but odds are stacked against the teenager, as the Isles already have three very capable righty-shot defensemen in Ryan Pulock, Johnny Boychuk, and Scott Mayfield, along with the talented 23 year-old Sebastian Aho, who is comfortable playing the right side and very capable transitioning the puck.
Fellow 2018 draftee Bode Wilde, who is also a 6’3” righty-shot, will be in the mix as well, after notching 70 points in 62 regular season games for the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL this past season.